New Year’s Eve has closed yet another year of headline-grabbing malware and cyberattacks that robbed firms of their data and exposed them to public fury. You would think that only SMBs could fall victim to hacks, but tech giants like Google and Amazon weren’t spared either. Facing ever-more sophisticated attacks, organisations might consider going back to basics. In 2019, tape storage probably won’t supplant cloud, but as an offline storage it will offer an additional and much needed line of defence against malware. Tape and the cloud will not only co-exist, they will co-mingle. This will enable organisations and cloud providers alike to discover unique benefits of LTO tape. In all, vendors will witness the tape market growing, based on large-scale and hyperscale use as long-term storage.

A new use case for tape

Today’s modern storage strategies aren’t about picking one media over the other but rather about knowing how you should apply different mediums. Tape is the best option when it comes to offline storage. Except when read or write operations are performed, files stored on LTO tape aren’t connected to the network – they are “air gapped”. Data stored on tape is not susceptible to malware or ransomware.

Tape fulfils the requirement for an offline storage solution. Backups are copied to tape, and the tapes are kept onsite in a tape library as a “secure, offline copy” of data protected against malware. As they remain in the library, tape handling is no longer a problem, while minimal handling of the tapes reduces the chances of media damage.

Today, tape is no longer about offsite storage; it is about offline storage. Protecting data against ransomware and other malware attacks requires offline data protection. And tape is the most effective—and lowest cost—method of providing it.

Tape and the cloud will intersect and co-exist

While cloud usage increases as a resource for storing data, cloud service providers face the same challenges as enterprises do: cost of storage, malware attacks, data loss, etc.  Even worse, cloud service providers face these challenges at massive scale!  That multiplies not just the severity of the challenge but the benefits from any technology that can help overcome these challenges.

Because tape is by far the most cost-effective mass storage technology, and because it can also provide the benefits of offline storage, cloud providers are embracing tape at a rate beyond what anyone expected.  Cloud providers are clear on the benefits of tape technology and so tape is being designed into the architectures that serve the world’s cloud providers.

Unique benefits of LTO tape

Tape, as a storage medium, stands out in many ways. Disk and flash-only data storage systems tend to be extremely expensive. This is not only because of the higher acquisition costs for these technologies, but also because they rely on electricity/power 24 hours per day. Whereas tape can store huge amounts of data and be stored offline for 30 years or more. This provides you with a financial gain that can reach millions of dollars, as well as green credentials. Adding to this, tape’s capacity is simply massive. This allows for the storage of huge amounts of data for everything from images, to client data and transactions, to Internet histories, social conversations, and more. The same capacity on disk or flash is much more expensive.

In 2019, the tape demand will rise

The changing cybersecurity landscape will make tape an increasingly attractive option in fulfilling a deep market need as an inexpensive storage media. Any organisation with significant data sets will be tempted to turn to the cloud.

As businesses move their disaster recovery strategies to the cloud, the recognition for tape’s specific advantages in archive and long-term data preservation as well as an offline and cost-effective medium will become much more entrenched. The data migration to the cloud trend will continue, but business with the incentive of lowering the cost per TB of storing large pools of data will increasingly look to tape media as the solution to long-term storage.